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Let’s face it, it was hardly surprising to find Malcolm Turnbull taking the piss out of Donald Trump. For starters, just about everyone does it – indeed, for much of the time The Donald seems to be doing it himself. Continue reading
For our media, the UK and the US are more or less ‘down town’. Continue reading
Jusuf Wanandi pays tribute to Dick Woolcott, former Ambassador to Indonesia and Secretary of the Department of FOreign Affairs and Trade, on his 90th birthday. Throughout his long career Woolcott has been a friend to Indonesia. Continue reading
On 2 June, the NSW Branch of the Labor Party hosted a dinner for Graham Freudenberg, former speechwriter for federal and state Labor leaders, including Arthur Calwell, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Bob Carr and Simon Crean. This is a transcript of his speech at that dinner – personal reflections and recollections of the people he has travelled with in his more than 40 years of service to the Labor Party and to Australia.
For octogenarians like me, the most astonishing development since the collapse of the Soviet Union is that so much of the West’s hopes for international sanity, civility and peace should now rest with, of all countries, Germany. Continue reading
Pressure is building on the Prime Minister to intervene in the long-running dispute over the release of the ‘Palace letters’, the secret correspondence between the Queen and the Governor-General Sir John Kerr in the months before Kerr’s 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government. These letters are held by the National Archives in Canberra where they have been designated as ‘personal’ not official correspondence and embargoed ‘on the instructions’ of the Queen until at least 2027, with her private secretary retaining a final veto over their release even after that date. The reality is that we as Australians do not own our history while these historic letters, written at the height of our greatest constitutional crisis, remain hidden from us at the behest of the Queen. Continue reading
So, the Australian Government has settled a class action brought by asylum seekers detained on Manus Island for $70,000,000. Apparently, the settlement was reached because the Government was fearful of the evidence and stories of official abuse that would have emerged over some six months should the action have been litigated in court. Lawyers in the case estimated that more than 70 witnesses would have been called and 200,000 documents examined. Afraid of the findings, the Government caved in at the door of the Court. Continue reading
The 1987 nuclear-free act was a milestone in New Zealand’s development as a nation. Continue reading
The only word to describe Theresa May’s unnecessary recent decision to call an early election in Britain is “hubris” and that hubris has now led to irremediable humiliation. “Strong and stable” could have described her political position before the election, but as a campaign slogan, delivered with numbingly motoric repetition, it became risible as “Jobson Growth” had been in Australia last year.
For over half a century Australian Governments have relied heavily on law enforcement to curb the drug trade, but, despite increasingly sophisticated and efficient policing strategies and operations Australia’s illicit drugs problems have continued getting bigger and the marketplace ever more dangerous, and prosperous If we are to improve the outcomes we achieve we have to stop simply being “tough on drugs” and start being “smart about drugs”. There is a way, we have a responsibility to explore it. Continue reading
Madness in the Coalition’s ranks over the Finkel report and sleaziness in ALP ranks over clandestine foreign donations are just the latest evidence that the current pack of parliamentarians is incapable of governing in the interests of all Australians. What this country needs is a strong political enema to clean out the political constipation from which the country is now suffering. Continue reading
Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity and indeed to all forms of life on planet Earth. Serious threats persist from the use or misuse of weapons – whether by design, accident or system malfunction – by nuclear-armed states and terrorist actors, and from the misuse of the civil fuel cycle. Continue reading
This week’s ABC Four Corners program that revisited, after 30 years, Chris Masters’ revelations of police corruption in Queensland, “The Moonlight State”, brings to mind how widespread corruption in Australian politics has been since then. Continue reading
During more than a century, our Anglo-allies fought several highly-publicised wars, but also many secret ones, directly or through proxies. If we don’t know the details, people in whose countries the wars were fought certainly do, and those who survived have not forgotten them. Continue reading
Ian Marsh who passed away last week, was a highly original thinker with the genuine curiosity of a true intellectual.
Ian liked to describe himself as one of the last ‘Deakinite Liberals’. This apt description reflected:
- Ian’s contributions to industrial policy, and especially how the state can help foster innovation, and
- Ian’s preference for a more consensual negotiated approach to policy making, such as applied during the first decade of the Australian parliament.
Trump’s presidency is in deep jeopardy. There is serious instability in the US polity. Political leaders of virtually all countries comparable to Australia are stepping back from, loosening, their relationship with the United States. Prime Minister Turnbull, alone, is not. Instead we are buying massively costly US military equipment and Turnbull thought it useful to announce, publicly, that Australia’s purpose in the Middle East is to kill as many ISIS as possible. Continue reading
This is a repost of an article that was originally posted on 15 February 2017. I have reposted this in light of current controversy on the Finkel Report.
Let’s be clear, the Coalition and particularly the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull are responsible for the current mess and impasse on electricity prices and reliability and supply. This is the result of years of policy and political failure. We are now seeing the dreadful consequences. Continue reading
The value of infrastructure depends on how well it is used. Australia’s main infrastructure problem is misuse of what we have; a symptom of an absence of sensible policies, advisory failures and lobbying to build monuments to keep the concrete flowing.
This article, about the Hume Highway, is the first in a series on this issue. Misuse of the Hume, Australia’s most important highway, has damaged the rail and trucking industries, caused harmful traffic in Sydney and led to sub-optimal locations of industry. The solutions – highway charging and removal of unnecessary truck restrictions – are well known; the continuing stubborn inaction on these is a sad reflection on Australia’s infrastructure advisers and decision makers. Continue reading
The OECD, in a recent report, has recognised that globalisation has many dimensions. Its enthusiasm for globalisation is undiminished, but it does acknowledge that the costs of globalisation “have been larger, more localised and more durable than previously thought, and that this is one source of disaffection with globalisation”. In a challenge to conventional wisdom it suggests that governments should seek to restore progressivity to their tax and welfare systems. Continue reading
It has little if anything to do with the real issues around climate change: it is all about satisfying Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce, George Christensen and Eric Abetz. Continue reading
Britain’s election result was a shock, even in today’s volatile political climate. The outcome is potentially disastrous, but it is unclear whether Corbyn could have pursued his agenda even if he had actually won. Continue reading
The UK election result is heartening, joining a series of demonstrations that people want positive change. But in Australia we seem to be paralysed, no-one willing to pick up the torch, many still unwilling to change their old allegiances despite the manifest destruction around us. Continue reading
No amount of political pressure from the EU would force Britain to accept a package it doesn’t want, and vice versa. A closure without agreement because of the Article 50 deadline would be an ‘own goal’ for all parties. Yet we may be seeing another replay of familiar European conflict themes, a century after these were intended to be put to bed. Continue reading
There are many local factors explaining the comparative fortunes of Theresa May’s Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in last week’s UK election. Issues around Brexit are unique to the UK, and May’s campaign was inept. But Corbyn’s comparative success, in defiance of the assumptions of the media and self-appointed policy elites, carries a message that goes beyond Britain, all the way to our own democracy. Continue reading
Mrs. May called the election ostensibly to strengthen her mandate in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. Although she failed to strengthen her majority, it is doubtful if the election result will have any impact on the Brexit negotiations. Continue reading
How do we explain the phenomenon of a Bernie Sanders, who almost certainly would have won the US presidency if he’d been the Democrat candidate running against Trump? How do we account for the astounding failure of, first, David Cameron and now Theresa May, to maintain the Conservative Party’s dominance of contemporary British politics? How is it that a political maverick like Jeremy Corbyn can drag a recalcitrant British Labour Party kicking and screaming to the brink of government in the UK? These questions point to the failure of old politics and the urgent need to imagine a new politics for progressing the West into the twenty-first century. Continue reading
The people who will suffer most from economic meltdown likely to follow from the UK election will be the country’s poorest and most vulnerable as funds dry up for public services, jobs disappear as firms move to the EU and as the UK’s international reputation for sound, stable government that attracts investors plummets. Continue reading